This tall and proud Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce is delicately spiced and fabulously creamy. A fall and Thanksgiving favorite!
A light hand on spices gives this rich, creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake a gentle fragrance while allowing the flavor of pumpkin to shine through. The pumpkin is combined with the spices and heated until the excess moisture is evaporated and the mixture is thick and bubbly, intensifying the flavor.
A full two pounds of cream cheese gives this Pumpkin Cheesecake its tall stature, and strikes the perfect balance between pumpkin-y, tangy, spicy, and sweet. Baking the cheesecake in a water bath gives its ultra creamy and velvety smooth texture while preventing the top from cracking.
I've given this Pumpkin Cheesecake a chocolate cookie crust using Nabisco Famous Chocolate wafers. One of my pet peeve's concerning cheesecake is a soggy crust. Wrapping your pan carefully using 2 18-inch square layers of heavy duty aluminum foil will keep any water out during the water bath. Prebaking the crust and allowing it to cool before adding the filling helps it to stay firm. My secret for a beautifully firm crust, I paint the crust with a layer of melted chocolate and allow it to harden, forming a seal that will keep any moisture from the filling seeping in.
A warm Pecan Praline Sauce spooned on top makes this Pumpkin Cheesecake a real show-stopper on any holiday table. I like to cut the cheesecake then spoon the warm sauce over the individual slices. If you want to spoon it on top of the whole cheesecake for presentation, any leftovers will not harden in the refrigerator, but turn into a fudge-like consistency.
For the crust:
- 5 ounces chocolate wafer crumbs (142g)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter (1.5oz, 43g)
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (170g)
For the filling:
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling) (425g)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (click for link)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (907g)
- 1 ½ cups sugar (10.5oz, 298g)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream (80z, 227g)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Pecan Praline Sauce (click for link)
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter and mix until evenly moistened. Press evenly into bottom of pan, using the flat bottom of a measuring cup or glass to press and smooth the surface.
- Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Spread melted chocolate in an even layer over the crust. Put in freezer for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens.
- Wrap pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and set in a larger baking or roasting pan.
For the filling:
- Combine the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until excess moisture is evaporated, a few minutes. Spread on a plate and let cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and the paddle.
- Add the sugar, in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute and scraping the bowl and the paddle in between each addition.
- Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down bowl and paddle.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating at a medium-low speed for 30 seconds in between each addition. Scrape down bowl and paddle.
- Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl with spatula to be sure everything is smoothly incorporated.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. Set baking pan in oven and pour enough boiling water in to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake until center is slightly wobbly when shaken, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. The center of the cake should register 165 degrees F.
- Transfer cheesecake to a wire rack. After 15 minutes, use a paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Let cheesecake cool to room temperature. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until well chilled.
- Cut cheesecake into wedges. Top with warm Pecan Praline Sauce, and serve.